If you’re new to karting you might be wondering what this strange name refers to: this is one of the most important parameters of chassis set-up
To be technically exact, the camber angle is the one formed between the plane that runs parallel to the tire and the plane that is vertical to the ground. In other words, it’s the angle that defines how much of the tire’s footprint rubs on the ground. The camber angle is called “postitive” when the top end of the tire points outward and “negative” when it points inwards. Go-kart
chassis use the C bends as kingpin anchors, so they are sold with a pre-set negative camber that varies from make to make. However, when facing competitive events, the camber angle needs to be adapted to track conditions and circuit layout, as well as to the tire model being used. This is why each manufacturer equips its products with high-precision camber adjustment systems.
Normally, the angle of the bolt that passes through the C bend and connects the kingpin (i.e. the tire) to the chassis is adjusted by way of eccentric washers (washers with an off-set hole). Usually there are two of them, one on the top side of the C and one on the bottom, to allow for a broader range of camber adjustment and to keep camber modifications independent of other set-up factors. In fact, if there were only one eccentric bush, adjusting the camber would require us to also re-set the caster, the other key angle that defines tire alignment (see the next section).
However, while paired eccentrics “isolate” camber adjustments, they require twin operations, aboev and below the chassis. This basic solution works, it’s just not very simple. This is why manufacturers have developed alternative systems.
If we take a still kart without the driver and set a neutral camber, the tire will leave a full footprint on the ground. Instead, if we make the angle positive or negative, the footprint will be limited externally or internally. Of course, when the driver is on oard, the chassis and kingpins flex inward under his body weight, making the camber negative. The camber without the driver is called “theoretical”, while the angle in actual driving conditions is called “real”.
In real-life racing conditions, the major change in camber occurs while going through bends. Here the chassis flexes in resistance to the centrifugal forces it is subject to, with two consequences on the camber: an increase in the angle that the front outside tire forms with the ground as it leans into it and a decrease in the angle of the front inside tire as it pulls off the ground. This effect is more or less drastic depending on how much grip track and tires have. When there is little grip (either because the track has no rubber or because the weather is cold and humid or, worse, rainy), usually we bring the camber angle progressively progressivamente towards a zero value or even slightly on the positive end of the “scale”.
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